Holy Relics

In the traditional Roman calendar, for the Extraordinary Use, today is the Feast of Holy Relics.

No, we are not celebrating your superannuated pastor.

If you have any relics I suggest you bring them out, perhaps put a candle by them, and reflect on the promises of the Lord.

Here are the relics in the Sabine chapel.

From left to right we have first class relics of St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Monica, St. Philip Neri, and St. Ambrose of Milan.


There are several relics in this old reliquary.

Here we have St. Nicholas, St. Blaise, St. Joachim, St. Ann and St. Paul, Apostle.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joshua says:

    What a blessing to have such relics, physical remains of the very saints in heaven!

    Fr Z., would you by any chance have the Propers for the Breviary Office of Holy Relics?

  2. Oremus says:

    Our daughter was given a very special Theca with 11 martyrs relics, 1st class. Thank you for telling us this. Maybe today will be better than it had started.

  3. Here are my relics. I gave St. Benedict to my pastor.

  4. ekurlowa says:

    >No, we are not celebrating your superannuated pastor.
    Are you sure, father? And if it’s an 92-years old Jesuit?

  5. Mark M says:

    What year’s this from, Father? I just ask because it’s not in my ’62 Missal or Breviary.

  6. Caeremoniarius says:

    @Mark M:

    It is one of the feasts “pro aliquibus locis”; the feast (Class II) was kept,
    inter alia, in Los Angeles and Cleveland. As Bl. John XXIII allowed the
    feasts “pro aliquibus locis” to be celebrated anywhere as long as they did
    not conflict with an observance of higher rank, it may be celebrated ad
    libitum (as Nov. 5 on the general calendar is a feria).

  7. Steven says:

    You know this is all very nice. But who ever has relics of their own. Its not like you can pick one up at the local bookstore.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    Relics are hard to come by. All I have is a Third Class Relic of the Servant of God John Paul the Great (a small bit of his white cassock).

  9. MelanieB says:

    “But who ever has relics of their own.”

    Many people do, actually. My family has three: a relic of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, given my husband by the local Missionaries of Charity after he gave them some assistance; a relic of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, given my husband by his niece because he is a great promoter of his cause; and a relic of Saint Faustina, not sure where and how we got that one. I believe they are either second or third class relics, pieces of clothing worn by the person or pieces of fabric touched to a first class relic. It is often quite easy to get relics for newer saints and blessed because the promoters of the cause want to encourage people to seek their intercession.

  10. I forgot about the card I got from Sr. Lucia. When she is beatified then I can say I have a second class of her I also have a piece of my cousin’s red nightgown. She is known as The Little Cajun saint.

  11. opey124 says:

    Jack, you don’t sell the relics on ebay, do you?

  12. Jack007 says:

    “Jack, you don’t sell the relics on ebay, do you?”

    Are you serious?

    I have and occasionally sold quite a few vestments, missale etc. over the years. While sometimes controversial, the auction house eBay has been a great thing for many traditional clergy. I know quite a few priests who have been able to outfit their parishes with some fine liturgical items. Consider how many, MANY of these beautiful things were THROWN away over the years.

    Jack in KC

  13. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Second to Melanie’s observation. We have a relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. It came into my mother-in-law’s posession before the canonization, then passed down to my wife and me. (and me).

  14. opey124 says:

    Jack..Please take no offense at what I said. You have an awesome collection.

  15. Jack007 says:

    No offense taken opey.
    The issue of relics on the Internet is a contentious one. You have canon law which strictly forbids the sale of relics, period. Then you have the practical realm in which many relics have been saved from certain destruction by being purchased online.
    Many religious houses in Europe are bankrupt, both financially and spiritually. They have found another source of revenue in selling off their treasures.
    I have a the leg of a certain martyr. My European buyer was making the rounds of convents when he came across it in a drawer of a cabinet he was making a bid on. It was in amongst some tools and knickknacks. The nun explained that the reliquary had been sold off years ago, but the buyer didn’t want the big femur. “We’ve moved away from these, gory superstitious things”, she said. My buyer assured her he had someone that would give it a good home. That made her happy as she didn’t feel “quite right” just tossing it into the trash.

    Thanks for the compliments.
    A couple more:

    Jack in KC

  16. Thanks for the reminder, Fr. Z.

    As a layman, I only have third class relics,
    but I guess those are as good as any for this day.
    If they help to inspire devotion and prayer,
    then a relic is a relic no matter what the class.

  17. Ygnacia says:

    The Venerable Fr. Solanus Casey guild is happy to send out a very nice third-class relic badge, free of charge (actually they sent me three when I requested one!). Here is their website:


  18. Bruno says:

    My family has a relic (a small piece of bone) of one of the priests who were killed in 1936 in my grandmother’s village, just for being priests .

    It’s one of the advantages we have in Spain: we are really close to the age of martyrs here (about 7.000 priests, religious and nuns and many more laymen were killed in 1930-36, just for being christian).

  19. Joshua says:


    Yes, that’s my priest’s practice here in Perth, W.A. (not Washington State, Western Australia).

    Fr Rowe loathes ferias, and will always say a Mass ad libitum for a saint, even from those pro aliquibus locis.

  20. ben whitworth says:

    Reading some of the above posts, I feel that we have an embarrassment of riches, but maybe relics are just more plentiful here in the UK. Relics currently on our domestic shrine, i.e. the shelf under our icon of Saint Anne from Mystras:

    fragment from the bones of St Benedict of Nursia;
    signed photograph of St Pius X;
    third-class relics of St Pius X, St John Eudes, St Therese of Lisieux, Bd Dominic Barberi, Ven John Henry Newman and the Servant of God Janet Erskine Stuart;
    also, our whole plot is sacred ground since (according to pious tradition) the body of St Magnus rested here during his translation from Birsay to Kirkwall Cathedral in 1137.

    Omnes sancti et sanctae Dei, orate pro nobis.

  21. Maureen says:

    I had never even seen a relic, until a few years back. It’s amazing how deep and wide Catholic culture is, but how hidden much of it has become.

  22. William says:

    Jack, out of curiosity, how did you aquire such an amazing collection of Relics?

  23. Dan says:

    I have only a second class relic of Padre Pio. It was a gift to me from Bishop Martino when I was in the hospital.

  24. Jack007 says:

    In the late ’70s I recall seeing piles of beautiful vestments stacked up on the ground in the Paris flea market. Chalices, monstrances etc. sitting on boxes. Nobody wanted them. The occasional sale was usually to someone as a curiosity. As a teenager I was greatly saddened.

    I started saving things from destruction, or the parish dumpster, around 1980. Most clergy were more than happy to just give them to me. This solved the dilemma they faced over how to “dispose” of them. Over the years I developed a network of individuals who helped me find these things around the country, and later with the Internet, the world. The expense has grown considerably, as the clergy has at least an idea that there are people who will give lots of money for these things. Most of them are convinced that its those “fanatical Lefebvre types” who are foolish enough to want them. The good news there, is that when I started out, the ONLY qualm the clergy had, was that I not allow these things to fall into the SSPX. They would throw them into the trash in a heartbeat before that would happen. I often had to bite my tongue.

    My original goal was to educate those of my generation, and now the one behind me. The hope being that by knowing what they are, people might save them.
    Thankfully in recent years it has gotten better. When I started I had more than one person think I was weird to want these things. Now I find more and more people understanding and appreciative.

    To me it has been a labor of love. Not having children, I wish to leave something behind. Something which will live on long after I am gone.

    Jack in KC
    P.S. A shot of some other items and relics:

  25. David says:

    If you find some relics at an antique store, is it permissible to buy them? Or does this violate the canon law?

  26. bryan says:

    Purchasing a relic at an antique store, especially if you know what they are, but are nothing other than a item of interest or less to the proprietor, to me would be an act of charity, especially if it ransomed it out of the commercial, vulgar sphere and was either brought home and prayers of reparation offered for the offense of their previous sale or for donation to your parish.

    That some people are stupid/vile enough to have taken these sacred articles and turned them to who-knows-what profane use…in my mind (and I asked this question before of my spritual director…), the sacrifice you make to remove them from the chance of further profanation is more than just if your true intent is to return them to their proper place (church, home shrine, etc).

    To me, it would be about on the same level as ransoming a consecrated host from a heathen so as to prevent its further profanation, and disposing of it in the proper manner to as to stop the sacrilige.

    Any ordained members that would want to correct me, please feel free, in charity, to do so.

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